I went to Berlin in 1986 and visited the Wall. When you visited West-Berlin, you were able to touch it, tag it, even chip a piece out. They had stands that allowed us to look over the Wall, right next to the Brandenburg gate. The population of East-Berlin wasn’t allowed to touch, they weren’t able to: there was a death strip with automatic machine guns, mines and a lot of security to stop people from defecting.

For decades politicians demanded to tear down that wall. It’s hard to tear down walls. They separate nations, ideologies and divisions within an enterprise. Walls are internal and external signals to communicate the importance of the Status Quo.

The Berlin Wall didn’t come down because Reagan demanded it. Or because East German politicians wanted to change. The Berlin came down because East Germans could open their windows and see the world around. For years, the East German propaganda machine told them that all West Germans are drug addicts, homeless and decadent. They took the worst 1% of the West German experience and claimed it was the average experience.

In the 80’s, the penetration of televisions increased dramatically in East Germany. Suddenly, people could see the West German living reality. Sure, there were problems but people could travel, experience other cultures and be a much more global citizen. Access to windows made the Berlin Wall feel so antiquated, so oppressing. These windows gave people the courage to change a system within a few days. And tear down that wall in hours.

Enterprises always complain about the internal walls and the lack of collaboration. Those walls won’t come down with a decree or a memo or a corporate initiative. Those walls will come down when you give people more windows.